March 14, 2014

• After unanimous vote in committee, KPA bill enters final step, action on the House floor

• Self-storage legislation amended to our acceptance

• Sunshine Week begins Sunday; help promote Open Government

• National Press Club March 19 conference focuses on government PIOs interfering with reporting

• ‘Battle of Crooked Creek’ coming September 18

• Why join NNA? Video added to KPA website; and one promoting KPS advertising service is in the works

• Cheryl Magers retiring; Ann Laurence takes over KPA Ad Division chair

Schedule: 

March 16 – 22 – Sunshine Week

Help Promote Open Government. Here’s more information (again) with a link to resources

 

April 10 – Planning session on Border War II Golf tournament, The Battle of Crooked Creek. Golf tournament for the benefit of the foundations associated with the Kentucky Press and Tennessee Press Associations.

April 17 – KPA/KPS Board of Directors Meeting, 12 noon, Governor’s Mansion, Frankfort

September 18 – Border War II: The Battle of Crooked Creek, London

SB 105 closer to being law; Next stop: The House floor

That’s how close we are to passage of Senate Bill 105, KPA-coordinated legislation that would clarify carriers to be independent contractors and not employees of the newspaper.

Once we decided last fall to pursue this needed change on our own, it’s been pretty non-stop. And I credit the work of our general counsel Ashley Pack and Southern Strategy’s Leigh Ann Thacker and Danny Slaton for all their work and help on getting this legislation moving.

We’ve been through the Senate committee and full Senate, and we’ve been through the House committee. The last rung is the House floor and it’s very possible that could come Monday or Tuesday when the House takes up Senate Bill 105 for approval.

We’re that close, folks, to righting a wrong. It was wrong that back in the mid-1970s a legislator got mad at a newspaper editorial so his “I’ll fix you” threat resulted in a law that stated carriers are employees of newspapers. We treat them as independent contractors, newspapers the contract they sign states they are an independent contractor, and if you asked them they’d tell you they are not employees.

In the 2013 session, we tried correcting this but piggybacked it on legislation that involved a large group of small businesses trying to reclassify worker’s comp issues. We got caught up in that and it didn’t get through the House.

So we have gone out on our own this session and are within one gavel of making the major change in KRS 342.640 (5).

Please help! Contact your State Representative(s) at 800-372-7181, or when they are home this weekend, and ask them to support Senate Bill 105 when it comes to the House floor for a vote.

Your voice was heard

Our thanks to those of you who had a State Representative on the House Labor and Industry Committee asking their support of Senate Bill 105. Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, is the sponsor and was at the table when the bill was called for a hearing. We also had co-sponsor Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, and KPA General Counsel Ashley Pack ready to discuss the bill if necessary.

Senator Buford said about 10 words when someone on the committee made the motion to approve. There was a quick second to the motion and a roll call vote ensued. Of course, it wasn’t controversial and that made for the quick action. But because all committee members had been contacted either by KPA members with a State Rep on the committee or by personal visits from KPA, the bill was approved and headed to the full House.

Now that’s why you need to make the call to your State Rep asking support of SB105 when it comes for a vote. The full House could vote on it Monday afternoon or probably Tuesday at the latest. So stop for a minute, call 800-372-7181 and leave a message for your State Rep to support it.

Better yet, make it a point to see him/her/them this weekend in person and seek that YES vote.

SB 150 amended

Senate Bill 150 was introduced a couple of weeks ago by Sen. Jared Carpenter of Berea. This legislation has appeared for the last five or six years across the country and just made it into Kentucky this session.

It concerns self-storage units and the process those facility owners have to go through before auctioning contents of a delinquent renter. KPA’s opposition to the bill stemmed from language that would allow those facility owners to advertise auctions in a newspaper OR by any “commercially reasonable” manner. That could include a wealth of possibilities and whatever means of doing that would be acceptable if at least three independent bidders showed up for the auction.

We met with Senator Carpenter and then with officials of the self-storage association, a facility owner and lobbyists for the group. After hearing the reason for our opposition, they said they would delete that language from the bill and we agreed that would rid the bill of KPA’s opposition.

Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee took up SB 150 and the committee substitute that kept newspaper advertising as the means of advertising any auction. The Senate committee approved the committee sub and later that day it passed the Senate unanimously.

It now heads the House where we’ll keep an eye on it to ensure that advertising language is not put back in the bill.

Most states have lost the battle opposing the self-storage unit legislation so we’re fortunate for Senator Carpenter’s and the Self-Storage Association’s willingness to work with us. Just a day prior to us meeting with that association, an Indiana legislative committee approved the exact bill as we faced and Indiana approved it with the “commercially reasonable” language included.

Here is a pdf copy of SB150 as amended with the committee substitute:

SB150 SCS1


capitol-346 down, 14 to go; but who’s counting?

Or it could be 47 down, 13 to go. Technically the headline is correct, although today (March 14) should have marked the 47th day of the 60-day legislative session. The difference is the legislature called off the Monday, March 3, sessions because of the snow and ice storm. Since there was never a gavel coming down that day, it can’t count as a work day. But whoever’s count is accurate, we still two weeks of meetings from the Sine Die gavel!!

One Kentucky paper gets recognized by State Net; problem is, which paper?

I just emailed the editors of the Louisville Courier-Journal and Lexington Herald-Leader, Neil Budde and Peter Baniak respectively, congratulating one of them on their newspaper getting recognition on State Net for a story from the legislature. State Net is a resource I follow to see what’s going on in Capitols and State Legislatures across the country.

So this week’s update includes the following (read to the end):  KENTUCKY Senate unanimously approves SB 124, which would allow the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville medical schools to conduct research using marijuana oil, which is extracted from a genetically modified strain of the plant for use in treating children who suffer from seizures. The law would allow anyone enrolled in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration trial to be treated with the oil extract. The measure moves to the House (LEXINGTON COURIER-JOURNAL).

If you want to keep up with news in other states, you can get a complimentary subscription at http://www.statenet.com/

Cheryl Magers retiring; Ann Laurence to serve as KPA Ad Division chair

 

Cheryl Caulk Magers

Cheryl Caulk Magers

First, Shelbyville Sentinel News editor Steve Doyle resigned as chair of the News Editorial Division to accept a position with the Greensboro, N.C., News and Record.It’s still kinda early in the year but already we’ve had two of the four division chairperson to resign their positions on the KPA Board.

Then earlier this week, Cheryl Magers announced she’s entering retirement and would be leaving the Central Kentucky News

Journal and also the KPA Board. Cheryl’s retirement date is March 28.

 

Ann Laurence

Ann Laurence

Ann is publisher of the Richmond Register.Cheryl had served as Ad Division chair previously and we were glad she returned to the business and to KPA. And following on that, the new KPA Ad Division chair will be no stranger to that position. Ann Laurence, who also previously served in that capacity has agreed to serve the next two years as chair of the KPA Ad Division.

We are seeking a chair for the KPA News Editorial Division to replace Steve Doyle.

161 years later, correction made

Did you happen to catch the correction made in the New York Times? Seems someone used the newspaper archives for research on a slave named “Northup” and found an obituary. The name was misspelled, twice, as Northrop and Northrup.

And the mistake was made 161 years ago. So the New York Times ran a correction recently. When the idea of public notices being put on the Internet crop up in the legislature, the archival process is one of the key arguments for us. This is an example of how archives in newspapers become a important part of history, something that government websites don’t offer.

Here’s a story on the correction and background:

By Chris Francescani

(Reuters) – The New York Times on Tuesday corrected a 161-year-old story about Solomon Northup, whose memoir was the basis for the Academy Award-winning movie “12 Years a Slave.”

The Jan. 20, 1853, article, headlined “The Kidnapping Case,” tells the story of Northup, a black man born free in the northern United States, who was kidnapped in Washington D.C. in 1841 and sold into slavery in Louisiana.

That article misspelled Northup’s surname, referring to him as “Solomon Northrop,” while its headline misspelled it as “Northrup,” according to the correction, which followed Sunday’s Oscars ceremony, where the film based on Northup’s experience was named Best Picture.

NNA promo video added to KPA website

Just what is the National Newspaper Association, what does it do for my paper and if I’m not a member, why should I join?

Video Player

00:00
02:00

That’s the focus of a video (above) we’ve placed on www.kypress.com and you’ll find it linked at the bottom of the home page. Take a look at what NNA is about. And if you still ask, “What does it do for my newspaper?” I can answer that — think Max Heath and postal. That’s sufficient reason if you want to have access to Max and his vast knowledge of postal requirements and who to contact to get something done.

The Battle of Crooked Creek – Mark your calendar NOW!

crooked-creek

Wish I could take credit for the name of our second annual Border War golf outing with our friends from the Tennessee Press Association. But the credit goes to Julia Meister-Musgrave, development director for the Kentucky Journalism Foundation. She’s responsible for lining up sponsors and wanted to have a catchy name to use to make sure potential sponsors could remember it. Just hearing of Border War II might not keep their attention as much as The Battle of Crooked Creek.

We’re having a planning meeting April 10 at the golf course in London in preparation for the September 18 outing.

So put September 18 on your calendar for all day and plan on participating. Your competition level isn’t important. We’ll gladly have duffers as well. It’s all in fun and it’s to raise funds for the foundations of the two associations. And you know that Kentucky’s foundation funds the internship program.

I expect to see 40 to 50 of you all registered for this year’s outing. We’ll be sending information en masse in early summer. Just mark your calendar now and keep the date open. By the way, Kentucky is the defending champion in this tournament and we want your help in keeping the undefeated stretch going.

Are you giving…or giving in

By Ed Henninger, Henninger Consulting

 

Ed Henninger

Ed Henninger

I’ve heard “I’m only giving the customer what he wants” more than just a few times during those years.I’ve been a consultant for almost a quarter century. Before that, I worked at newspapers for almost another quarter century.

And every time I hear it, I cringe—because I’m convinced that the person who says it is not doing what he/she says. In fact, I believe the person who says “I’m only giving the customer what he wants” is doing just the opposite.

Yes, there are customers out there who will tell us precisely what they want the ad to say—or precisely how they want it to look. And they can be very difficult to work with.

They want a one-column by two-inch ad. And they want it to contain at least 3,000 words. With 12 illustrations. And four colors. And a 12-point border. Reversed.

OK, I’m exaggerating…but you get the point. Some advertisers are stubborn. They claim to know what they want and they won’t advertise with us unless they get it.

So, we run an ad like the one in accompanying this column. It’s just awful—and we know it. But we believe we are “…only giving the customer what he wants.”

We’re not. We’re giving the customer what he thinks he wants.

What your advertiser really wants is traffic. He wants you to help get buyers to his store or to his phone or to his web site.

We create traffic for that advertiser by using our skills and experience to give him an ad that does the job—not one that satisfies his need to be “creative.”

It’s our job to write and design an ad that will generate traffic for the advertiser. To do that, we sometimes have to convince the customer that what he thinks he wants isn’t what he really wants.

That may mean doing some spec ads. It may mean a longer visit in the customer’s shop. For sure, it’s gonna mean more time and effort on our part.

But that’s our job. It’s our responsibility to give the customer the best ad we can.

We need to do our job. Part of that calls for us to convince the customer to keep an open mind and to give us credit for our experience, our training and our skills.

If the customer doesn’t have an open mind—if he still insists on getting what he thinks he wants, then we need to ask ourselves where we’ve failed to help him.

Yes, there will occasionally be that advertiser who flat-out insists that you run an ad the way he wants it.

But remember: It’s still your newspaper. You can choose to reject the ad. And occasionally turning down an ad means you’re not just going to let any customer cheapen the look of your product. And it may just gain enough respect from him that he will listen more closely the next time we visit him.

Or…you can take the money, run the ad, and continue “…only giving the customer what he wants.”

It’s your choice.

WANT A FREE evaluation of your newspaper’s design? Just contact Ed: edh@henningerconsulting.com | 803-327-3322

IF THIS COLUMN has been helpful, you may be interested in Ed’s books: Henninger on Design and 101 Henninger Helpful Hints. With the help of Ed’s books, you’ll immediately have a better idea how to design for your readers. Find out more about Henninger on Design and 101 Henninger Helpful Hints by visiting Ed’s web site: www.henningerconsulting.com

ED HENNINGER is an independent newspaper consultant and the Director of Henninger Consulting. Offering comprehensive newspaper design services including redesigns, workshops, staff training and evaluations. E-mail: edh@henningerconsulting.com. On the web: henningerconsulting.com. Phone: 803-327-3322.

‘Glib techno-Utopians?’

While the story itself was about alternative weeklies, part of a statement in a New York Times story can be relevant to any weekly. It’s a story about the Baltimore Sun purchasing the Baltimore City Paper, an alternative weekly. But notice one part of the story and apply that to the ongoing public notice battles in most every legislature:

“But an alt weekly is connected to a city in the way that a website can never be. In Baltimore, somewhere between 20 and 40 percent of the population doesn’t have regular Internet access. The glib techno-utopians who not only foresee a paperless tomorrow, but also lobby for a paperless present, are ready to forget about these people. Alt weeklies might not always reach everyone in the city, but at least, like the dailies, they try to be available and relevant to everyone.”

So now we know those who push moving public notices to government websites can be referred to as “glib techno-utopians.”

And we’re planning a KPS video

With college Spring break next week, we’re taking advantage of Campbell Revlett’s time off to produce a video for our KPS sales efforts. We’ve seen what a couple of other states have done — Ohio and Pennsylvania to name two — as ways to keep their ad services in front of clients. So Teresa (of course, Campbell’s mom and our Director of Sales) has written the script and she’ll be turning the idea over to Campbell. We’ll show you the end product in a few weeks when Campbell gets it done.

And then agency’s will have a better idea of what the KPS advertising process is all about. And by sharing it with you, you’ll have a little better knowledge, too.

sunshine-week-logo

Sunshine Week begins Sunday, March 16

Sunshine Week 2014 is set for March 16-22. Let us know what you and your organization are planning to do, so we can add you to this year’s participants list! Visit sunshineweek.org to see a roster of participants and events listings.

There are endless ways to participate in Sunshine Week. A community “town hall” meeting, hosted by OpenTheGovernment.org, took place Jan. 23 in Washington, D.C., to coordinate Washington-based activities for Sunshine Week 2014. Many organizations across the country are making plans to host events spotlighting open government, launch special news reports and campaigns and hold other awareness-building activities.

Among the events and activities already planned for Sunshine Week 2014 are:

  • The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, in partnership with OpenTheGovernment.org, and separately the Collaboration on Government Secrecy at American University’s Washington College of Law, will each hold a celebration of Freedom of Information Day with a series of panel discussions and awards presentations.
  • The Reporters Committee will host a panel discussion with prominent journalists and legal experts discussing transparency and the U.S. Supreme Court. Open government events are also planned during the week by the D.C. Open Government Coalition, FOI Oklahoma and the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
  • New Mexico State University is holding an infographic contest for students, utilizing the state’s Open Meetings Act or Inspection of Public Records Act as the work’s focus. The winners will be announced at a public ceremony during Sunshine Week. The contest is sponsored by NMSU alumnus Tim Parker, the NMSU Library and the NMSU Department of Journalism & Mass Communications
  • In Florida, Lee County Clerk Linda Doggett will hold a free public training seminar on how to find public information posted on the clerk’s office website. Training brochures and reference materials will be provided to attendees.

The American Society of News Editors launched Sunshine Week in 2005 as a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants have included print, broadcast and digital media outlets; government officials at all levels; schools and universities; nonprofit and civic organizations; libraries and archivists; and individuals interested in the public’s right to know.

In 2012, ASNE partnered with its co-sponsor, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and has renewed the partnership to oversee the national coordination of resources and provide support for participants. Sunshine Week 2014 is made possible by an endowment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and by donations from the Gridiron Club and Foundation.

We welcome all groups and individuals to participate and use the resources provided on the Sunshine Week website to mark their open-government efforts the week of March 16-22. Among great resources available is “The Vault,” which archives inspirational materials from Sunshine Week 2013, including opinion columns and cartoons. Fresh material that can be used free by anyone will be posted in the “Toolkit” as it is received; check back often! You can also watch the 2013 video in which former ASNE Freedom of Information Committee Co-Chairs Andy Alexander and Tim Franklin discuss ways to get involved with Sunshine Week.

For more information on Sunshine Week and how to participate, visit sunshineweek.org or contact us at sunshineweek@asne.org. Please send us your artwork and writing to share for the “Toolkit.”

Obits

Carl Donald “Donnie” Moreland, 79, of Frankfort, passed away peacefully on March 6, 2014 in his home, with family by his side. Funeral services were held Monday, March 10.

He was born to Roy Guy and Edith (Wright) Moreland, on July 23, 1934, in Scott County.  Carl graduated from Great Crossing High School in 1952 and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Kentucky in 1956 and a Master of Public Affairs in 1979. He was a member of Sigma Delta Chi, now the Society of Professional Journalists.  Married in 1971, Carl and Linda Austin Hockensmith enjoyed life together in Frankfort for 36 years.

Carl Moreland’s 38 year journalism career (1956-1994) began in Harlan County and included Lexington and Frankfort, Indiana, and New Mexico.  In 1956, Mr. Moreland was a city-county reporter at the Harlan Daily Enterprise. From 1957-1960, he began photography as well as his desk and sports duties at the Frankfort Morning Times.  He later became the sports editor in addition to city-county reporter at the Princeton Daily Enterprise in Indiana. In 1960-1967, Carl worked as a general assignment reporter and copy editor for the Lexington Herald.  He became the sports editor for the Roswell Daily Record, in Roswell, N.M. and left as the city editor in 1967.

Carl was hired at the Frankfort State Journal by S.C. Van Curon (who had hired him at the Harlan Daily Enterprise) as a general assignment reporter.  In 1968, he began working the news desk where he was responsible for writing headlines, doing front page layouts as well as the inside news pages. He remained at the news desk until his retirement in May, 1994.  During his career, Carl won many awards: four first-place awards for General Excellence (one through the New Mexico Press Association, three while working the news desk at the Frankfort State Journal).  An example of his front page work was cited in the following textbook, News Editing, Second Edition, 1972, by Bruce Westley.

See, learn from innovators, journalists developing mobile-first strategies

(Editor’s note: Our Mobile First symposium on March 31-April 1 has reached full capacity and we’re no longer accepting registrations. But the event will be streamed live during both days. For all the information about Mobile First, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mobile-first-live-stream-tickets-10546658339)
mobile-first“Mobile First: Navigating multi-screen migration” starts March 31 at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism. The two-day event will feature renowned journalists and innovators in a series of short but informative sessions that explore a world where people read and view news on their mobile device

Speakers include: Victor Hernandez of CNN Worldwide, Jim Jenks of MLB Advanced Media, Robyn Peterson of Mashable, Will Sullivan of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and Adriano Farano of Watchup.

Session topics include:

“The year mobile took over: How local news adapted” by Michael Gay, Journal Broadcast Group

“News in the noise” by Mark Little, Storyful

“Green shoots for the digital news economy: A look at trends that bode well journalism on digital platforms” by David Gehring, Google

“Newsy: The real economics of mobile, video news” by Jim Spencer, Newsy

“Future forecast: How at 30-year-old TV company got obsessed with mobile” by Neil Katz, The Weather Company

Another government website malfunction

Have you ever seen a newspaper put out this kind of notice:

park-reservations

This week, if you tried to make a room reservation with a Kentucky State Park lodge by clicking on “Reservations” one would get this message. It also shows one of the arguments on public notices and government websites — they can and have required Internet Explorer to be used to access the site. My example to legislators is that I use a Mac and I use Safari as my browser.

Barbourville Mayor same name, but not same person

Guess I can’t imagine there’s another David Thompson in this state but there is. Kind of odd to pick up the paper, read about the problems with the Barbourville Mayor and see my name in print. Since his name is David Thompson as well.

And in case you want to ask, No, I am not the David Thompson who led NC State to the NCAA title when Jim Valvano was coach.

When I was at the Georgetown newspaper, there were three David Thompsons. One was a deputy sheriff, one an apparent drug dealer, and me. One evening I received a call from a lady, somewhat distressed she was.

“Is this David Thompson?” she asked and I replied yes it is.

“I need to talk to you about some situations,” and she preceded to go in depth into several run-ins with the law. She gave me a lot of information and while I wasn’t taking notes, I listened intently. She admitted to her wrong doings, using drugs, other felony offenses, but she was trying to get her life turned around.

I thought she was going to ask me to keep her name out of the court news in the newspaper so I kept listening. Then the conversation turned when I asked what she needed.

“I need you to help me get the charges dropped because this is really going to devastate my family and my friends,” she stated.

“M’am, I’m sorry but I can’t help you with any of that.”

“You can’t? This is David Thompson, the deputy sheriff, isn’t it?”

“No m’am, this is David Thompson, publisher of the News and Times.”

“Oh (expletive deleted),” and she hung up.

Public Affairs Offices Interference with Reporting

A National Press Club panel on March 19 will discuss the first-ever national surveys that document reporters’ perceptions about whether government press offices interfere with reporting.

The event will be held March 19 at 1:30 p.m. at the National Press Club’s Zenger Room.

Click here to register

The forum is timed to occur during Sunshine Week, which is an annual series of events in mid-March that spotlights the importance of transparency, especially government openness.

The Society of Professional Journalists sponsored one national survey of political and general assignment reporters working at the state and local level. SPJ also joined with the Education Writers Association to sponsor a separate survey of the nation’s education reporters.

The surveys were led by Dr. Carolyn S. Carlson, a communication professor from Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

In the last two years, surveys by Carlson have stirred discussion about the widespread movement in recent times in which government agencies and other entities bar employees from speaking to reporters unless they go through public affairs offices. Her work has also shined a light on delays and other barriers that sometimes ensue after reporters contact public affairs staff.

The previous studies found, for example, that most Washington-area reporters in the federal arena say agencies’ control over whom they speak to is censorship and that such controls keep information from the public. She also found that 40 percent of government public affairs officers say they have blocked certain reporters due to ‘problems” with their previous reporting.

Speakers at the March 19 event will include:

Moderator Kathryn Foxhall, a member of the National Press Club Freedom of the Press Committee and a freelance reporter

Carolyn S. Carlson, communication professor from Kennesaw State University and leader of the two new surveys

David Cuillier, President of the Society of Professional Journalists and director of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

Emily Richmond, Education Writers Association Public Editor

NPC and SPJ have also posted an op-ed for use by news outlets during Sunshine Week saying that agencies at all levels are controlling the information the public receives, threatening the very foundation of democracy.

Click here to view

Contacts: Kathryn Foxhall, kfoxhall@verizon.net; or John M.Donnelly: jdonnelly@cq.com; 202-746-6020.

Focus on Legislatures: Public Notice bills aplenty across the U.S.

I’m taking some space here just to show you the multitude of public notice advertising bills making their way through legislatures that are in session.

There are a few stories below and then a synopsis of states where legislation has been introduced and may be on the move. You’ll note that Kentucky isn’t the only state with the self-storage unit bill.

Small-town Residents Depend on Community Newspapers


Two-thirds of residents in small towns across America depend upon their local newspaper for news and information, according to the National Newspaper Association’s most recent newspaper readership survey.

The survey noted that more readers are using mobile devices to shop, read and communicate. The number with smartphones jumped from 24% to 45%, and 39% said they used the phones to access local news.

Newspaper websites remained the leading provider of local news, followed distantly by a local TV station’s site and then by national aggregators, such as Google and Yahoo.

Striking was the finding that nearly one-third of households still do not have Internet access at home. The finding parallels similar conclusions from the U.S. Census Bureau and others that continue to report slow growth in Internet penetration across smaller, and particularly rural communities.

Local readers also like to share their newspaper with others. The “pass-along rate” of the primary subscriber’s sharing with others rose in 2013 to 2.48, compared to 2.18 in 2012 and 2.33 in 2011.
NNA Press Release, including a link to the study for NNA members – National Newspaper Association (02.03.2014)
Executive Summary – National Newspaper Association (02.03.2014)

N.C. Legislator Speaks in Favor of Public Notices
North Carolina state Rep. Chris Malone told members of the North Carolina Press Association that he thinks preserving the current public notice rules transcend politics.

“You are the guardians of public speech. It’s not just a business,” he said, speaking at a Feb. 27 legislative briefing in Chapel Hill. “We’ve got to tell people what’s going on – notifications are part of that.”

Malone spoke of the proposal he helped defeat in the Statehouse last year that would have abolished the requirement of municipalities to publish public notices in newspapers. Prominent supporters, including the Speaker of the House, argued that such notices are no longer a good use of taxpayer money in a technological age that allows municipalities to inform the public using their own websites. Malone said the bill could come up again over the next year or two and urged publishers to be proactive in making the case against it to legislators.

The legislator also alleged that many of his fellow GOP colleagues’ support for the bill is motivated by bitter feelings towards the press as much as it is the goal of saving taxpayers money, according to a story in the Asheville Mountain XPress.
Legislator briefs NC Press Association on public notices – Mountain Xpress, Asheville, N.C. (2.27.2014)

Hawaii Asks Whether Newspaper Notices Online Should be Free

Two resolutions directing Hawaii’s Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) to conduct a study of states concerning the costs and methods of publicizing legal notices have been referred to committee in the state’s House of Representatives.

The resolution notes that advertising rates for the state and government agencies increased following the 2010 purchase of the Honolulu Advertiser by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, and directs the LRB to study the costs involved in other media, including the “internet, radio and television,” compare the public notice costs and methods used in other states and “review cost-saving strategies” concerning public notices prior to the start of the 2015 legislative session.

Of more concern is a line in the resolutions declaring that “technology has allowed over 100 Pennsylvania newspapers to currently post their printed public notices on the internet at no cost to the local government.” While state press associations and newspapers do typically aggregate public notices online, it’s not done without cost to state and local governments, who typically pay a rate for printed advertising which includes the cost of online publication. Newspaper associations elsewhere are also beginning to see legislators who want the “free” part of the print-plus-online combination without the paid part.

The resolutions can be read here and here.

Colorado Town to Vote on Pulling Notices from Newspapers

The Buena Vista, Colo., Board of Trustees has placed an item on the town’s April ballot to cease running public notices in The Chaffee County Times, the newspaper reports. The newspaper says that the ballot measure has been promoted as a way for the town to save money, running only titles and summaries with a reference to the town’s website archive.

An editorial published by the newspaper notes that from 2009 to 2013, the town spent an average $3,790 per year on public notices – which amounts to just .0004 percent of the town’s 2014 budget of $8.8 million. The newspaper said that most public notice invoices have been between $20 and $50, though the board focused on a single $912 invoice to publish a lengthy ordinance.
Times editorial: Legal notices must be public – The Chaffee County Times, Buena Vista, Colo. (2.26.2014)

Connecticut Speaker Behind Effort to Shorten Printed Notices

Municipal government officials and state legislators in Connecticut are pushing for a change to a state law which requires towns to place public notices in local newspapers to alert the public about government meetings and actions. Officials and legislators claim that the legal requirement should be repealed because towns can provide adequate notice through postings on their internet sites.

“The claim is ridiculous, for while local newspapers have large and measurable audiences, municipal internet sites do not,” says the Journal Inquirer of Manchester, Conn., in an editorial.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities is asking the state to allow towns to push summaries of the traditional notices with instructions for how to obtain the full document on the town’s website. The idea is to reduce the amount of newspaper space towns must purchase, while preserving the notification for newspaper readers, says a story on CT News Junkie. In past years, similar legislation has failed to pass the General Assembly, but this year, the municipal governments have the support of state House Speaker Brendan Sharkey.

“It seems like a reasonable compromise,” Sharkey said in late February, “without imposing a huge cost on cities and towns.” It is unclear whether the House speaker’s support will be enough to push the perennial issue over the legislative finish line during this year’s session.

Sharkey Gives Municipalities a Boost by Supporting Legal Notices Bill – CT News Junkie (2.26.2014)
Eliminating legal notices will cost more than it saves – Journal Inquirer, Manchester, Conn. (3.3.2014)

Update: Minnesota Senate Sets Aside Public Notice Bill


The Minnesota Senate State and Local Government Committee has essentially set aside a bill that would allow local governments to move public notices out of newspapers and to post them only on local websites. The Morrison County Record reports that while the bill may be brought up again, opponents said the bill was aside without a vote because not enough committee members were in favor.

The bill, which was pushed by the Association of Minnesota Counties and the League of Minnesota Cities, is not expected to be heard in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Senate committee sets aside public notice bill – Morrison County Record, Little Falls, Minn. (2.27.2014)

Corporations

Arizona: HB 2554 – Passed Committee – Remove requirement of corporate notices in newspaper.

Definition of Newspaper

Louisiana: HB 699 – Referred to Committee – Removes the requirements for a newspaper to carry legal notices that general circulation papers be paid and that a newspaper must possess a valid periodical permit

Tennessee: HB 2379/SB 2344 – Hearing Scheduled – A bill to define “newspaper of general circulation.

Forfeiture

Utah: SB 256 – Referred to Committee – Add newspaper notice; Notice previously by personal service, certified mail & posting on the Utah Public Notice Website.

General

Louisiana: HB 806 – Referred to Committee – Create “official journal of state” which will move all notices to a statewide website.

Rhode Island: H 7133 – Hearing Scheduled – A proposal buried in a 245 page appropriations bill, would move all legal notices to the Web.

Government notices

Alabama: HB 71 – Passed Committee (previously Passed House) – Moves voter registration lists from the newspaper to a website.

Alaska: HB 275 – Returned to Committee – Allows municipalities to move notices to their own website.

Connecticut: SB 40 – Hearing Scheduled – Allows municipalities to move notices to their own website; Also permits free newspapers to publish notices

Connecticut: SB 94 – Hearing Scheduled – Permits municipalities to move notices to their website. For more information on this, I received a link this morning to a story on NPR about the Connecticut legislation: Conn. Papers Fight Proposals To Alter Publication Of Legal Notices

by JEFF COHEN

March 14, 2014

from WNPR

Municipalities in Connecticut are mandated by law to publish public notices in a daily newspaper. Some say switching to posting online would save money. Newspapers fear the loss of revenue.

Here’s a link to listen to the story:

http://www.npr.org/2014/03/14/289994182/conn-papers-fight-proposals-to-alter-publication-of-legal-notices?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=share&utm_campaign=storyshare

Illinois: HB 4531 – Hearing Scheduled – Move all notices to a government website

Louisiana: HB 725 – Permits moving parish, municipal and school notices to Web

Maryland: SB 397 – Failed Committee/HB 1261 – Hearing Scheduled – Proposal would allow municipal and county notices to move to the web.

Minnesota: SF 1152 – Hearing Scheduled/HF 1286 – Referred to Committee – Bill that has carried over from 2013 to move municipal notices to a government site.

Post & publish

Colorado: HB 1086 – Sent to Governor – Similar to the Tennessee bill passed last year, this bill would require newspapers to publish the notice in print and then post the notice on a centralized website maintained by a majority of newspapers.

Self-storage bills

California: AB 2331 – Introduced – Move notices to the Web

Rhode Island: S 2371 – Held for Further Study – Removes the newspaper notice required by an owner of the storage space to the occupant.

These proposals are similar to bills introduced and passed last year that require publication or advertising in a “commercially reasonable manner” which is assumed if 3 independent bidders attend the sale.

Indiana: HB 1385 – Passed Committee (previously Passed House)

Illinois: SB 2952 – Placed on Calendar

Kentucky: SB 150 – Referred to Committee; amended to strike language objected to by KPA

Missouri: HB 1225 – Passed Committee

Here’s what happens when the readers choose the front page story

(Editor’s Note: This was an interesting experiment. So get you a focus group together sometime, show them some of the stories of the past few weeks and let them tell you what they would have preferred being the top stories in each edition. Wonder how different their choices would be from the stories you featured?)

“What if front pages were selected by newspapers’ readers instead of their editors? At NewsWhip, we’re always interested in the news stories people are choosing to share – and how those stories differ from the normal news stories editors put on the front pages of big newspapers. So we ran a little experiment.

“On Wednesday morning, we gathered the front pages of leading newspapers in several countries. Then we used Spike to check the most shared stories from each one.

“A little work at our end, and we used those most shared stories to make new “people powered” front pages for each newspaper – giving the most shared story the most prominence, the second most shared the second most prominence, etc.

“We replaced headlines and pictures, though did not get into replacing story text and bylines. The results are pretty neat – maybe even thought provoking.

“For each paper we have the original front page on the left, and the “people powered” one on the right. Scroll through and take a look at the contrast.:

http://blog.newswhip.com/index.php/2014/03/people-powered-front-pages-rock

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